Watergate Salad

Watergate Salad is a deliciously fluffy and refreshing dessert that has been a staple side dish on holiday tables for years. An easy-to-make dessert that only takes a few simple ingredients and can be made in a matter of minutes.

A white bowl with blue trim with a serving of Watergate salad in it.

Watergate salad is one of my favorite desserts to make when the holidays roll around. If you’re asking yourself what this salad is, you’re not alone. Most people simply call it pistachio delight or pistachio fluff. It’s a creamy, sweet classic loaded with delicious flavors, and it’s been a staple on holiday tables since time out of mind. I know I’ve been making it for holiday gatherings for years.

Some people simply make this salad and set it out in a big bowl for everyone to scoop up as much as they want. Other people like me enjoy getting a little fancier and serving it in individual glasses. However you decide to make it, though, everyone always loves it, and it makes a great addition to any holiday gathering from family dinners to holiday potlucks. 

Watergate Salad

This delicious dessert salad is a classic for a reason – people love it so much! It starts with creamy Cool Whip and pistachio instant pudding mix. Then, I add crushed pineapple, miniature marshmallows, maraschino cherries, and chopped walnuts. All these ingredients come together to create a cool, creamy dessert that’s loaded with interesting textures and tropical flavors that have everyone coming back for more. And because it’s so easy to make, you can whip up a giant batch of this sweet treat and still be in and out of the kitchen in no time. That gives you more time with family and friends, and less time slaving away in the kitchen. It couldn’t be better!

Why You’ll Love This Watergate Salad Recipe

  • It’s a light and fluffy dessert recipe that everyone loves.
  • It’s easy to make and only takes a few simple ingredients.
  • And, it’s an easy, delicious no-bake dessert recipe that’s perfect for holidays, potlucks, BBQs, or whenever an easy dessert is required.

Tips and Variations

This recipe is one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make. It only takes a little mixing, and you’re done. That being said, even recipes as easy as this one have their little tricks to make them amazing. I’m sharing those along with some tasty variations that I think you’ll enjoy.


  • Thoroughly drain your pineapple to ensure your salad isn’t watery. I like to drain it in a colander rather than just pour the liquid out of the can.
  • Use a very sharp knife when cutting the cherries so you get nice cherry halves rather than squished, mangled cherry bits.


  • Try using chopped pecans, almonds, or pistachios in place of walnuts.
  • Add shredded coconut.
  • Hollow out a whole pineapple and serve your Watergate salad inside of it for something extra fancy.
A close up of a serving of pistachio fluff in a white bowl with blue trim.

What to Serve with Watergate Salad

This delicious dessert salad makes a great dessert with pretty much all of your potluck and holiday favorites. From turkey and ham to burgers and BBQ, this salad is an excellent addition to any gathering. There’s really no meal that isn’t perfect for this delicious salad.


If you have questions about this recipe, read on. The following FAQ answers the most commonly asked questions about Watergate Salad.

Why is it called Watergate Salad?

When the recipe for what was originally called Pistachio Pineapple Delight was originally published, a Chicago food editor renamed it Watergate Salad to promote interest in the recipe when she mentioned it in her column.

What is Watergate Salad?

It’s a dessert salad made from pistachio pudding, canned pineapple, whipped topping, chopped pecans, and marshmallows. It’s also sometimes made with maraschino cherries.

Can you freeze pistachio salad?

Absolutely. It freezes very well and will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Can you make this salad ahead of time?

You sure can. It’s even better the next day, so whip it up the night before and chill it until you’re ready to serve it the following day.

A close up of a spoonful of pistachio fluff.

How to Store Leftover Watergate Salad

Store your salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze it for up to 6 months in an airtight, freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bag.

Watergate Salad Ingredients

This delicious dessert only uses a handful of simple ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store.

  • Cool whip
  • Instant pistachio pudding mix
  • Crushed pineapple, drained
  • Miniature marshmallows
  • Maraschino cherries, cut in half
  • Walnuts, chopped
Three tall glasses filled with Watergate salad.

How to Make Watergate Salad

Making this salad is just as easy as shopping for the ingredients. It only takes a few minutes to make! 

Step 1: Mix the Whipped Cream and Pudding

In a large bowl, add the Cool Whip and pistachio pudding mix and stir until combined. Add a drop of green food coloring if desired.

Step 2: Combine the Remaining Ingredients

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Then, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. Top with whipped topping, additional nuts, and mini marshmallows if desired and serve!

A double collage photo of Watergate salad in a white bowl with blue trim.

Try This Delicious Watergate Salad Recipe Today

This easy, delicious green fluff salad recipe is a classic dessert that’s been a staple of potlucks and get-togethers for years and years. There’s a reason for that. It’s so good! The combination of Cool Whip, pistachio pudding, pineapple, marshmallow, and more creates a rich dessert that delivers a ton of flavor without a ton of work. Give this recipe a try, and I know you’ll find yourself just looking for reasons to make it!

A three photo collage showing Watergate salad .

More Delicious Dessert Recipes You’ll Enjoy.

Pink Dessert – This pink fluff dessert is loaded with cherries, pineapple, walnuts and marshmallows, and is a family favorite dessert recipe for the holidays. 

Berry Fruit Salad – This delicious berry salad is loaded with fresh raspberries, fresh blackberries and fresh blueberries with marshmallows, pecans and cool whip. 

And, here is a delicious Peach Pretzel Salad, from Deliciously Seasoned, that you might enjoy too!

Watergate Salad

Great Grub, Delicious Treats

This delicious Watergate Salad is a light and fluffy pistachio dessert recipe with crushed pineapple, chopped walnuts, mini marshmallows and maraschino cherries. A favorite classic dessert perfect for the holidays, potlucks, family gatherings, backyard BBQs and for any occasion.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 0 mins

Total Time 10 mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American

Servings 8 Servings

Calories 279 kcal


  • 16 ounce cool whip
  • 3 ounce box instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 20 ounce crushed pineapple, drained really good
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • ½ cup maraschino cherries, cut in half
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped


  • In a large bowl, add cool whip and pudding mix. Stir until combined. Can add a drop of green food coloring if desired.

  • Add remaining ingredients, stir, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill until ready to serve.

  • Optional: top with whipped topping, additional nuts, mini marshmallows and cherries.


Nutritional values are approximate.


Please note that these values can change with different brands and any modifications made to the recipe. For the most accurate information, use a nutritional calculator with the exact brands and measurements.


Calories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 3gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 205mgPotassium: 186mgFiber: 2gSugar: 42gCalcium: 89mgIron: 1mg

Keyword Pistachio Delight, Pistachio Fluff, Watergate Salad, Watergate Salad Recipe

Here are a few pics that are perfect to save to your favorite Pinterest boards on Pinterest. Also, you can follow us on PinterestFacebook, Instagram and YouTube. Remember to “like” or “follow” us on all social media.

Watergate salad in tall individual glasses.
A close up of a serving of pistachio fluff or Watergate salad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *